Pregnancy is measured in trimesters. Each trimester consists of 12 weeks, i.e. 3 months and is characterized by certain symptoms. Every woman experiences pregnancy in a different way but the range of symptoms are relatively the same. Here are some of the symptoms that a woman may face in her first trimester which lasts from week 1 to week 12:
Symptoms of First Trimester of Pregnancy
1. Morning Sickness
Morning sickness is nausea and vomiting which can occur at any time during the day or night. Morning sickness can start even as early as 3 weeks. The reason for nausea to happen is that estrogen and progesterone levels are rapidly rising. Waves of nausea are also caused by various smells e.g. perfume, cooking, cigarette smoke etc. as pregnant women also have a heightened sense of smell particularly in the first trimester.
In order to relieve the feelings of nausea, the pregnant women should eat small meals spread out over the course of the day. It is best to eat foods that are low fat and are easy to digest. Avoid those foods that exaggerate nauseous feelings. Drinking a lot of fluids is helpful. Ginger ale is known to help reduce nausea.
If the nausea is severe or if you are passing very small amounts of urine which may be dark in color then contact your doctor. Furthermore, if you are unable to keep down liquids, are vomiting blood or feel dizzy then it is extremely important for you to get in touch with your doctor.
2. Food Cravings or Food Aversions
During the first trimester, hormonal changes are at their peak due to which the pregnant mom-to-be might either crave for certain foods or else feel averse towards certain foods. She might feel nauseous at the very smell of certain foods. It’s okay for you to indulge in your cravings as long as the food you are consuming is healthy for both you and your baby. Don’t force yourself to eat something you are not feeling up to as it will only increase your feelings of nausea and result in vomiting.
3. Feeling Dizzy
During pregnancy, there is dilation of the blood vessels which results in a drop in blood pressure which could cause lightheadedness or dizziness. Avoid standing for long periods of time in order to prevent dizziness. Also, when sitting down of standing up rise slowly. If you are driving and you begin to feel dizzy then pull over. If you feel dizzy when you are standing up, then lie down on your left side.
If you experience extreme dizziness alongside vaginal bleeding and/or abdominal pain then seek immediate medical attention as this could be a symptom of an ectopic pregnancy (when the fertilized egg is implanted outside of the uterus). In order to prevent complications, the ectopic tissue has to be removed.
4. Swollen or Tender Breasts
Hormonal changes that take place once you have conceived result in your breasts becoming sensitive, tender or sore. Or your breasts might feel heavier and fuller. Wearing a sports bra or a more supportive bra could be helpful.
Constipation and heartburn
Pregnancy can cause constipation as the movement of food through the digestive system slows down giving nutrients time to be absorbed into the bloodstream and to reach your baby. The valve between your stomach and esophagus can relax due to pregnancy hormones resulting in stomach acids leaking into your esophagus causing heartburn.
Avoid carbonated drinks, fried foods, spicy foods, citrus fruits in order to prevent heartburn. Furthermore, eat small meals multiple times over the course of the day.
In order to relieve or prevent constipation eat foods that are high in fiber content and drink a lot of fluids. Physical activity such as a daily brisk walk is also advisable.
5. An Increased Need to Urinate
During the first trimester, it is normal to urinate more frequently than you usually do. The uterus is becoming larger and there is increased pressure on the bladder which may cause urine to leak when you are coughing, sneezing or laughing. In order to prevent UTIs (Urinary Tract Infections) urinate whenever you feel the urge to.
To prevent yourself from losing sleep due to the need to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night reduce your fluid intake in the evenings. Especially cut down on caffeine as that causes you to urinate more. Try using panty liners if you are concerned about leaking urine
6. Feelings of Fatigue
Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of the first trimester of pregnancy. This is because during the first few months of conceiving the levels of the hormone progesterone are on the rise which causes you to feel sleepy and tired.
There is no way to fight off the feelings of fatigue so the solution is the rest as much as you can and to make sure that your intake of protein and iron is enough. It is best to include some daily exercise such as a brisk walk in your routine.
7. Mood Swings
During pregnancy it is normal to feel anxious, exhausted, exhilarated and delighted – maybe even all at once. Although you might be very happy at the thought of being pregnant, pregnancy comes with a fair amount of emotional stress.
It is only normal to be concerned about the baby’s health, the financial requirements of raising a child and your own adjustment into motherhood. You could be concerned about what kind of parent you will be or how the baby will impact your relationship with your partner. If you are a working woman you could be concerned about remaining productive on the job and how to balance between the demands of family and work life.
You may also experience mood swings and weepiness. It is important for you to tell yourself that this is all normal. Seek the support of your partner and loved ones and take extra good care of yourself. However, if the mood swings become very severe and intense then consult your doctor to be on the safe side.